Academic journal article British Journal of Canadian Studies

Imperial Vancouver Island: Who Was Who, 1850-1950

Academic journal article British Journal of Canadian Studies

Imperial Vancouver Island: Who Was Who, 1850-1950

Article excerpt

J.F. Bosher, Imperial Vancouver Island: Who Was Who, 1850-1950 (Bloomington, IN: Xlibris Corporation, 2010), 839 pp. Cased. $34.99. ISBN 978-1-4500-5963-3. Paper. $23.99. ISBN 978-1-4500-5962-6.

J.F. Bosher was one of Canada's most prominent historians of France and French Canada, but this collection of 950 mini-biographies of people who lived on Vancouver Island has no real connection with the author's scholarly work. Some of the people included were born on the island but spent most of their lives elsewhere. Others were born and spent most of their lives elsewhere before retiring to Vancouver Island. Some spent only a very short time there; one of the biographies is about a young man who never set foot on the island but drowned at sea on the way to settling there. There is a heavy preponderance of military figures and civil servants but few women. How few is difficult to know since the author does not provide a breakdown of any sort of the birthplace, career pattern, religion, gender or place of birth and death of those whose biographies are included. Clearly the author's project is not yet complete since tucked in the printed volume was a series of typed sheets of biographies completed since the book was published. The material included in the biographies is frequently idiosyncratic. A great deal of attention is paid to the ancestral roots and family connections of anyone tied to the British aristocracy and a number of the longer entries focus on people with whom the author had some direct connection. Brigadier General Reginald John Gwynne appears to have been given a particularly long entry because his daughter became a good friend of Bosher's mother and the Gwynnes and his parents are buried in the same church graveyard 'with other of their kind', part of a 'world of lively, friendly, charitable, often musical social circles based on a common view of the Island as part of the British Empire' (p. …

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